The United Nations said Thursday that it had mobilized $35.6 million to aid those affected by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
Some 50,000 people from the region have fled to neighboring Sudan and tens of thousands have been internally displaced since fighting broke out last month.
The U.N. said some of the money would go to aiding refugees in Sudan, while the rest would reach those in need in Tigray itself.
“Conflicts like this are hard to stop once they get out of control, the lives they extinguish cannot be brought back, and the grievances they create are long-lasting. Right now, children are cut off from help. We need unfettered access now,” said Mark Lowcock, U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.
The announcement followed a loosening of some restrictions, including restoration of some telecommunications this week. Many civil servants returned to work and gun owners were asked to disarm as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sought to restore order in the embattled region.
Telecommunications had been suspended and access to the area limited since the conflict broke out, making it nearly impossible to confirm death tolls in the region.
The U.N. has been urging Ethiopia’s central government to allow humanitarian access to the region for more than a month.
On November 4, Ethiopia’s federal government launched what it called a “law enforcement operation” against “rogue” leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s ruling party, after TPLF fighters attacked a federal military base. TPLF leaders called the federal government’s response a war against the people of Tigray.
The conflict erupted weeks after Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government.